Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Anatomy of a Book List

“Woe be to him that reads but one book.” – George Herbert

Here’s a recent progression of reading (it’s like 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon.)

I wanted a new book to listen to on CD for my long rides in the car. Work is a ½ hour drive and not even NPR can hold my attention once the financial market comes on. I browsed over the titles on the shelves hoping for something to jump out and grab me. I ended up looking at the cart of recently returned titles and chose “Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading!” by Maureen Corrigan. Although I found several chapters on Catholic Secular Martyr books less than particularly interesting, I did enjoy the chapters on Female Adventure Heroes. She spoke of her own journey to adopt her daughter, Molly, from China.

Once I returned to the library, I decided to search for any other books by Corrigan. I found the book version of the “Leave Me Alone…” but nothing else. She was placed on the non-fiction shelves. As I began perusing I noticed a title, “The Russian Word for Snow.” I checked it out. The story was of a couple from the United States who ended up adopting their son unexpectedly through international adoption – he was found in an orphanage in Russia. I’ve decided I don’t have a desire to visit Russia. The picture painted was rather bleak. But I’ve also discovered that international adoption is beautiful, giving, trying, and full of endless paperwork.

Upon returning to the library I remembered Corrigan discussing a book that was her favorite about the adoption experience. She should know, she is the chief book critic for NPR’s “Fresh Air.” She remarked wishing that “The Lost Daughters of China” had been written before she was hoping to adopt. I found it to be a remarkably eye-opening read by Karin Evans, who had adopted her daughter from China.

The next book? Corrigan had spoken several times about Anne Lamott’s journal of her son's first years. I’m a fan of Lamott’s writing, but had never read this specific memoir. She tells of her story as a single woman managing through that first amazingly trying year. This then led to “Grace Eventually” and “Thoughts on Faith” by the same author.

A comment on my sister’s facebook wall led me to “The Time Traveller’s Wife” and some coaching from friends led me to purchase “No Other Gods” and “Humility”. My sister also handed me "Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life" the last time we saw each other.

But now I'm drawing to the end of my list. I’m in a fiction dry spell and am looking for the next books to pick up on CD or in print. I'm open to just about anything, although I do find Science Fiction to be a dreadful challenge for me. So please, comment and recommend away!!


Katie said...

I just finished Gilead by Marilynne Robinson - beautiful - and am about to start The Time Traveler's Wife. Two friends have handed it to me, so I figure it's about time. :)

If you're looking for a light, fun read, anything by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt is great - I just read their newest one. Oh, and I loved The Friday Night Knitting Club - read it a couple months back.

PS: I loved Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life!

Laura said...

I'm just about finished with "Midwives" which was surprisingly (to me) captivating to the point that I couldn't wait to get on the bus in the morning so that I could read it. "Same Kind of Different as Me" and "The Last Lecture" are my other two more recent reads. They are not fiction, but I'd recommend them both.

I enjoy your reading lists and always over-ambitiously write down all the titles on my "to-read" list! Thanks for sharing.

Ginger said...

I loved reading "Same Kind of Different as Me" this summer! What an amazing story. Thanks for the recommendations!

katy said...

anything by sophie kinsella is both hilarious and mildly inappropriate.